Justify has been on track for the 2018 Belmont Stakes since the day after winning the Preakness, and the oddsmakers have seen fit to install him as the 4/5 morning line favorite despite drawing the inside post to start. There’s a lot of time for Justify to make up for a poor start considering how long this race is. Any exacta plays and at least one of your win bets should have Justify involved. The safest, and perhaps least profitable, play is Justify to place but where’s the fun in that?
There isn’t a real point in breaking down the entity of the field. Over the past decade of Belmont races, only two horses have emerged as victorious longshots. Da’Tara scored as a 38/1 shot in 2008, and Ruler On Ice did the same as 20/1 two years later. A lot of that had to do with injuries sustained by the favorites during the race. Gambling on Justify going down midway through the 2018 Belmont Stakes is insane (and a bit downtrodden). He’s too much of a specimen to break down.
If you’re looking for a parlay packer, my preference is Bravazo at 8/1. Like Good Magic prior to the Kentucky Derby, he is being cast aside and forgotten in the build up to the 2018 Belmont Stakes. He’s really only had two bad races – the 2017 Kentucky Jockey Club where he lost his rider, and the Louisiana Derby where placed 8th. Around those two down and out performances, he stormed the Risen Star as a 21/1 shot, was 6th in the Kentucky Derby and runner-up at the Preakness. I don’t know what else he has to do to earn your attention and consideration. He definitely has mine.
As for other horses to consider, or outright upset specialists, there’s strong reason to bet on Gronkowski at 12/1 and Blended Citizen at 15/1. If there’s an surprise winner, it usually comes from the middle-outsider on the board that’s either a distant derby finisher or a new shooter. Gronkowski is not only well rested but is bred for this sort of race. It’s way he was in England to begin with, where they run longer races traditionally.
Blended Citizen is a complete shot in the dark. I think that his owners took a smart route to get to the 2018 Belmont Stakes, by running the Peter Pan in-between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. To be clear, I like Blended and Gronk as either outright, standalone win bets or place bets. Think of them as optimal hedgers in case the top choices don’t show up.
In the end the 2018 Belmont Stakes is about Justify. It’s about Bob Baffert cementing his place as the greatest trainer of his generation, and potentially all-time. It’s about history. You pray to witness moments like this.
Catch all the action on NBC and TwinSpires TV.
2018 Belmont Stakes – Saturday, June 9th at Belmont Park
1 1/2 Miles – 3 Year Olds – $1,500,000
|1||Justify (KY)||Mike E. Smith||126||Bob Baffert||4/5|
|2||Free Drop Billy (KY)||Robby Albarado||126||Dale L. Romans||30/1|
|3||Bravazo (KY)||Luis Saez||126||D. Wayne Lukas||8/1|
|4||Hofburg (KY)||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||126||William I. Mott||9/2|
|5||Restoring Hope (KY)||Florent Geroux||126||Bob Baffert||30/1|
|6||Gronkowski (KY)||Jose L. Ortiz||126||Chad C. Brown||12/1|
|7||Tenfold (KY)||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||126||Steven M. Asmussen||12/1|
|8||Vino Rosso (KY)||John R. Velazquez||126||Todd A. Pletcher||8/1|
|9||Noble Indy (KY)||Javier Castellano||126||Todd A. Pletcher||30/1|
|10||Blended Citizen (KY)||Kyle Frey||126||Doug F. O’Neill||15/1|